North American Attitudes towaid Population and Birth Control, 1965
Percent who believe that:
The rate of world population growth is a serious problem. 62
The rate of U.S. population growth is a serious problem. 54
International communism is a more serious problem than
world population growth. 71
The U.S. Government should aid states and cities in birth
control programs. 63
control, 8 percent gave religious and 7 percent gave moral objections. In France, the main objection was the need for more people or soldiers (5 of the 18 percent disapproving). In Great Britain and West Germany, the principal objections referred to the potential intrusiveness of government into a private matter; i.e., the objections were less against family planning per se than against the government's possible role in it.
In Dakar, where two thirds of the sample population voiced disapproval of birth control programs (52 percent strongly disapproved), the principal reason was that "The country needs men" (37 percent) and an additional 6 percent gave such related reasons as "Overpopulation is no problem" and "There will not be enough children in Senegal."
In Lagos, a survey in 1964 asked:
Would you approve or disapprove of helping people learn how to limit the number of their children if they wish?
Of the 401 respondents, 29 percent disapproved, and the principal reason reflected the Nigerians' belief that more people were needed—both in terms of pure quantity ("Nigeria has plenty of land," "More people are needed to open up underdeveloped lands"—7 percent) and in terms of quality ("Better and more honest leaders, technicians, and men of science" are needed—5 percent). Another 3 percent referred to manpower needs of industry and 3 percent to manpower for war (6).
If we can generalize from these examples, it appears that the small minorities who oppose family planning in Europe did so in 1965 either out of religious conviction (Italy) or, more importantly, out of fear of manipulation by government. In Africa, where much larger proportions of the population opposed family planning, most objections were based on its consequences for population growth. This observation is also consistent with the positions ofin favor of family planning and more in favor of national growth include two Latin American, two African, and two Asian states (Table 3).